Va. elementary school students refurbishing computers to donate to local families

- Kids these days are pretty computer savvy and an elementary school in Virginia is giving students a chance to work with computers that doesn't involve playing games.

History is being made at Ashland Elementary School in Manassas. For the first time statewide, elementary school students are refurbishing and reprogramming computers to donate to area families.

Seven-year-old Adrien and nearly two dozen other students are going home with one of these updated desktops.

“This will give him a chance to use the kind of software that they use at school, so he will be able to use it at home and he will be able to practice whatever they do at school at home, so that would be good for him,” said Adrien’s mother, Vanessa Alvarenga.

This is all part of the Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment program, also known as VA STAR. Students who refurbish hardware can earn an IT repair certification. Participants are usually in high school, but at Ashland on this day, one of students working on refurbishing a desktop is 11-year-old Joshua Hessel.

“Once you learn to do it, you get used to it and you come here weekly, it doesn’t get that hard,” he said. “It becomes a lot easier.”

These may be some of the youngest techies around, but they are not the only ones learning.

“Usually it’s more of our challenge because the students are so innovative by nature, they are risk takers, they love to be hands-on, so part of the experience just on our end is to understand what we are doing, what we are working with and the steps,” said Ashland Elementary School principal Andy Jacks.

He said the youngest participants at his school are in third grade and are only 8 years old.

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